Customers by Technology, Q3 04 - Q3 07
The growth rate in the CDMA customer base improved from 14.9% for the 12 months ending 30th June to 15.6% for the 12 months ending 30th September, taking the total base to 136.6m at the end of Q3 2007. CDMA customers make up the 51.0% majority of customers in North America, a proportion that has risen from 48.6% over the last year after the above average growth in subscriber numbers. However, GSM/W-CDMA networks did almost as well, despite starting with a customer base only just over three quarters the size, accounting for 40.2% of the North American market by customers at the end of Q3 2007, 2.3pp on the year before.
The above average growth in both the CDMA and GSM families is of course explained by the fact that North America has not one but two legacy technologies in decline. In the year to 30th September there was a 60% reduction in AMPS/TDMA numbers to under 4m and also a 14.6% decrease in iDEN numbers to under 20m.
3G Customers by standard, Q3 04 - Q3 07
If we were to include SprintNextel's "dual technology" handsets in the United States (which we currently count as CDMA, this being the other technology) the iDEN figures would look a little more healthy, but the trend is undeniable. Strictly speaking there is also a third atrophying technology in the North American region in the form of the NMT standard network still operating in Greenland, although this played host to only 850 or so customers at the end of Q3 2007.
The fastest growing technology in the region in the year to September was W-CDMA, despite having only two active supporters in the form of AT&T Mobility and Rogers Wireless. Given that the base a year ago amounted to just 0.44m, however, this feat is hardly surprising.
AT&T accounts for the vast majority of the growth and has done a tremendous job this year, increasing the size of the base in the first nine months of the year almost ten-fold. Customer numbers were up by almost 2m in Q3 2007 to almost 7m, rising to over 7m with the inclusion of Rogers. The total number of additions and conversions to the global 3G standard at AT&T exceeded the number of its own net additions by almost a third in the first nine months of 2007, with over 6.2m new W-CDMA connections compared with a net increase of just 4.7m in the base as a whole. The US market leader still has some way to go before it can match the 3G penetration of nearest rival Verizon, but is not far off out-doing third-placed Sprint, at least if a stricter definition is applied and only EV-DO enabled connections are counted.
Overall, CDMA2000 1x customers still outnumber W-CDMA customers by more than 13 to 1, although this ratio is down from 216 to 1 at the end of Q3 2006. In terms of EV-DO customers, the ratio has gone from 42 to just 5.6 over the same time period, despite a doubling of the base to over 39m in the year.
Source: Cellular News.